After 19 seasons, Survivor has really gotten to the point to where there are two schools of thought: you either still like it or you think it “jumped the shark” long ago.
I, however, am someone who actually stopped watching it for a few years because I got tired of it. I didn’t like the characters and found most of the people dull (not to mention the challenges didn’t interest me at all). I started watching again a few seasons ago when Rupert Boneham was on (Pearl Islands in 2004, I think), and have been watching faithfull ever since. I loved the All-Stars version and really enjoyed last season in Tocantins, Brazil (c’mon…it had COACH!!)…so I was definitely looking forward to last night’s season debut.
Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed.
Last night’s episode centered around one of the most intriguing characters any reality show has ever had: Russell Hantz. Apparently, Russell is a multi-millionaire oil company owner from Houston, Texas and isn’t playing the game for the money. No…Russell is playing this game specifically to raise hell and try to win by being the dirtiest player in the history of the game.
Let’s start off with his bedtime story, shall we? While the Foa Foa tribe were cuddling up on their first night, stories were being passed around in an effort to get to know one another. Russell’s story was heart-breaking. He was living in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. His house was right next to the levies when they broke. As the water was rushing into his house, he didn’t know what to do next. It was him and his dog and his trusty ax…because being a firefighter, he knew that an ax may come in handy. So the water was rushing in faster than he could have ever anticipated and he scrambled to go up the stairs. He looked down into the murky waters for his beloved dog…but he was nowhere to be seen. He had to fight his way out of the roof of the house with his ax before finally being rescued.
Russell has never been a firefighter, didn’t lose a dog to Katrina floodwaters, and has never even lived in New Orleans.
Yes…I think it’s safe to say that this man is the new hell-raiser on Survivor. I mean honestly, this was the greatest lie told since Johnny Fairplay informed the group that his grandmother had died. But alas, he wasn’t done here.
His plan was to make his fellow teammates weak both mentally and physically so he could take advantage of them. He snuck out to the fire in the middle of the night and emptied out all of the water bottles. Yes…even his own. ALL of them. He then decided to burn random personal effects just so it would cause issues. Example? He burned a pair of socks belonging to Jaison…one of the big physical threats in the game. The next day Jaison was saying that his feet were starting to get blisters and didn’t know where his socks were.
In addition to that, Russell began making one-on-one “final two” deals with every woman on his team. He proceeded to call them weak, stupid, and pathetic. This guy was really firing on all cylinders, calling it the “Dumb Ass Girl Alliance“. Seriously.
When one of them, Marisa, told him that it concerned her that he was talking one-on-one with so many other people (i.e. she was questioning her own alliance with him), he immediately went on the warpath. He went to everybody in the tribe and told them that Marisa was coming after him and really wasn’t a person on the tribe that was to be trusted. Most of the tribe believed him, so when the Galu tribe won the immunity challenge, it all but spelled the end of Marisa’s time on Survivor.
While Ashley got a few votes, it was Marisa that ended up being voted off first.
Random thoughts from last night’s episode:
- The “other” Russell (yeah…two people with the same name this year) was voted leader of the Galu tribe, while Mick was voted leader of the Foa Foa tribe. Russell #2 (also described as a “better looking Lennox Lewis”) was doing a pretty good job leading, where Mick was pretty much a non-factor.
- SHAMBO!! This woman is an ex-marine with a mullet that would have even made Billy Ray Cyrus back in 1992 go “DAAAAMN!!!” Why the name “Shambo”? Well, her real name is Shannon and she loves wearing a headband like Rambo did back in the 80′s. Thus, she’d rather be called Shambo throughout the game.
- First impression? Shambo is a moron.
- First impression? John, the rocket scientist, really needs to STFU. Over-talkers can be early-exiters on Survivor.
- If you’re gonna trash talk another team before an immunity challenge and call them “losers”, then you better back it up and actually WIN the damn thing. Idiot.
- Ben’s got an attitude that’ll earn him enemies quickly in the game.
- Betsy might be too smart for her own good…beware of Russell!!
I thought it was a great season premiere…99% because of Russell. I mean, where do you FIND somebody like this? I initially thought that he would be playing the game too hard too quickly, but now I’m fascinated to see just what he’ll be doing next!
Did you watch the premier last night? What did you think of Survivor: Samoa?